Review by THOTH

"Truly aimed at a limited audience"

After purchasing my DS, I found my self unimpressed at the selection of games I was interested in getting. Desperate for fresh meat, I decided to buy Yoshi's Touch & Go after hearing of its unique game play. I quickly discovered one of the more complex games I've ever played. Don't be fooled by any one that calls Y T&G simple, its any thing but.

The biggest complaint that people have with T&G is its overall limited game play, and in a way it is. There are only four modes, and two of them have static locations. These include Score Attack, Marathon, Time attack and Challenge mode. Each one, as their title suggests contains an arcade style variation of the same game formula. The "formula" is what makes this stand apart not only from its adventure type series, but also any game in general.

It begins with baby Mario being dropped by a stork, and using the stylus and touch screen you pre-create cloud paths for him to follow, avoiding enemies and obstacles while trying to get as many coins as possible. If baby Mario (who is attached to balloons) gets hit three times, its game over. Your work is entirely on the touch screen, and in this mode Mario stays on the top screen, thus out of your reach.

Aside from drawing cloud barriers, one can also draw circles around certain foes converting them into bubbles that can be tossed to Mario for more points. In some modes you will occasionally find star power ups that grant invincibility and increased speed, furthering score combos. It sounds pretty easy, but it's actually quite a challenge to get a decent score on it. For one, really the only way to get high powered scores is to make use of bubbles. This mechanic is tricky, as it will change the course of Mario depending on how fast you fling it at him, what angle and so fourth. This can be an advantage, as well as a disadvantage. Plus there are multiple "routes" you can take, each with varying amounts of coins. As you get closer to the bottom it also grows in difficulty, increasing the amount of things you have to avoid. The descent levels are not random, as there are several pre-determined set ups, so part of doing well is knowing the stages. All in all: easy to finish…difficult to master.

After all these bubbles, clouds and rainbows, baby Mario will almost hit the ground only to be narrowly rescued by a Yoshi bystander. From there on the game shifts gears and you play as Yoshi in a side scrolling adventure. However…here's the key. Depending on how well you do on the baby Mario stage, the Yoshi will be a different color. Each color has several factors, including the number of eggs (missiles) you have at your disposal, how fast he actually moves, how difficult the stage is and ultimately the max total points you can get in the stage. Yes, the game caters to your skill ability, and this sole system is what really contributes to this game's "unlimited replay".

Now that your Yoshi color is decided, and your difficulty is set, you begin partaking in an even more interactive adventure. Yoshi continues to walk right (or left if you are left handed) and you must guide him using the same cloud and bubble abilities you were using before. That's right, you don't actually control any one in this game (aside from some bubble and cloud making god). This time you can tap Yoshi to make him jump, or tap any where on the screen to make him launch an egg in that direction. The side scroller parts are by far the most difficult, as you don't have the leisure of having three hits. It's game over if Yoshi gets touched by any thing bad (as well as the standard falling into the pit business).

Using bubbles and clouds, a player can manipulate enemies so that they line up, and toss an egg to rack up tons of points. One could also conserve eggs and just bubble any thing that looks threatening. Or by drawing pathways above monstrosities, simply avoid them all together. This freedom adds enough variables where it would be difficult, if not almost impossible to pinpoint what the max score would be in any given stage.

The challenge comes when it starts to get especially busy. There will be times where the player will be forced to draw clouds to make a walk way for Yoshi, while firing eggs at enemies on the top screen (which can be difficult to aim I might add) while drawing bubbles around fruits to drag them to Yoshi for egg replenishment. It gets absolutely crazy at times, and although the one hit game over thing is pretty fair, it sure doesn't seem that way when it actually happens. Fortunately you can start over at the point you switched to Yoshi mode, keeping your score, time and color. But it still can be infuriating, especially on Marathon mode.

Speaking of modes, as mentioned before, there are four of them. The main one is Marathon mode, an endless adventure where you try to see how far you can get. Here, score is replaced by star points and for every 100 you get an invincibility star that turns baby Mario into a star chucking death machine, briefly. For each segment of the level, you switch to a better Yoshi (thus increasing the speed and difficulty) and begin in a new area. Later on, players will unlock a "secret" for getting good scores at a huge distance.

This is the super star of the modes, as its composed of actual bits of unique levels stitched together, generating a pretty random playing field. There are several game mechanics, creatures and items that only appear in Marathon, making this the most fleshed out way to play. A nice touch is a flag added to the stage to mark whatever your best distance was (along with indicating what color Yoshi you were using).

The next main mode is Score Attack, where you try to get as high a score as possible in a predetermined stage. If you do good on the Mario stage the Yoshi section will be harder, but there will be far more points to be had. Really basic and likely some thing only experts will truly get REALLY into. It does succeed in showing off just how complex the score system can be, though.

By getting high score in the above modes, you can unlock time attack and challenge mode. Both are extremely difficult and immediately prevents T&G from being a game you can beat in two hours. Time attack consists of a predetermined stage you have to get through, along with a boss at the end. This one isn't as maddening as challenge mode, but it's requires some practice. The clouds you draw actually hasten Yoshi, demanding that you constantly be drawing bridges, while avoiding nasties and ultimately saving ammunition for the "boss". The real kicker is trying to decide if you want to get a quicker, better Yoshi during the Mario stage and sacrifice time, or take an inferior one to get done faster.

Challenge mode is a variation of Marathon (thus endless and based on traveled distance), only far more "challenging". In this beast you get a timer ticking down, and when it hits zero its game over. You can increase your time limit by getting a lot of points… however the only way to get enough points is to use eggs, and eggs are a valuable commodity. It is a very fast paced and difficult…and is likely to make at least a few people break their DS out of frustration. It's still possible though!

As a whole, the selection is okay. Each mode is different enough to offer a unique experience, but in the end most gamers will stick to Marathon. Those that are into mastering a game will find each mode offers incredible depth, but will likely find challenge mode refreshingly hard.

Game play: 10/10

Graphically T&G is fundamental at best. It makes use of supped up Yoshi's Island sprites, and background art style. Honestly it looks like some thing the Super Nintendo could do. The colors are bright, the contrast is just right and every thing looks great….but it's all very basic. In this case it's forgivable, as the game gets a lot going at once, and it's probably easier for players to have visual simplicity. My biggest complaint is that occasionally the game will lag a tiny bit here and there.

Graphics: 8/10

Audios have pros and cons. The sound effects are perfect and fitting for the graphics and theme. The music however, mainly remixed variations from previous Yoshi games, has one TERRIBLE blemish. Among all the many good tunes, there is one that sounds like some one very novice trying to play a flute and failing miserably. It's a frequently used song in Marathon, and it makes me cringe every time it pops up. Other songs really fail to be any thing above just "basic".

Sound/music: 6/10 (would be 8 out of 10 if it weren't for that terrible, ungodly song)

And finally… replayibility. As with an arcade game, it will give as much as the player is willing to take, and vice versa. Nothing more, nothing less. There are a few extras tossed in, including some obscurely ambiguous secrets, as well as an extra minigame, but other wise, it's those four modes at that's all. If you just want to beat the game's preset high scores, this will last you probably 6 hours tops and will leave MANY disappointed. (And it truly has) For people that are into challenging themselves for better Yoshi colors, better scores, and competition with other players, this is the perfect game. With a little dedication, there is endless game play. (But, couldn't the same be said for any game?)

Replayibility: 6/10 or 10/10 (depends on individual)

Yoshi's Touch & Go: Love or hate it, take or leave it… in the end, this isn't for every one, but that doesn't stop it from being a great piece of work. My final score is 7/10 because even though the possibilities in each mode are nearly endless, the modes to play are any thing but infinite. It would be the perfect game if they had just added one more mode of the same depth of the other four, as well as just a teeny bit more things to unlock. (Oh yeah, and get some decent flute musicians) For me this is a 9/10, but none the less I realize that a lot of people won't be satisfied with this as it stands. Buy only if you can play a game just for the sake of getting high score. Those that want an ending, or a more adventure type game in general: Stay far, far away.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 04/04/05


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